“Free” Is Not Exactly Free

“You get what you pay for.” That’s a sentiment often expressed when we purchase something cheap and it turns out, there’s a reason it was so cheap. The product either fails to do what it’s suposed to or it breaks after one use. We all know this, yet we still fall for the occasional “great deal” which ends up being a huge let down.

Many of our new customers tell us that before they purchased our MECA® System software they were using free print or software programs to help meet the assessment requirements for Indicator 13. These “free” assessment tools look great on the surface—after all, they are free. But there’s a reason these programs are free. They lack all of the functionality of a high-quality assessment program, which ends up costing the school district more money in the long run. After you factor in the actual cost of administering, scoring, interpreting, saving the results, assigning and administering follow-up activities, storing student results and collecting data on each student in the system, you’ve probably run up a pretty high bill. Here is why.

For one class of 20 students who can read:

Hours              Task

1              Administer interest test

3              Score test (some are electronic and so there is no cost)

2              Create student folders

5              Review results with each student

1              Assign follow-up activities (2-3 exploration activities)

5              Plan and administer follow-up activities

5              Review results with each student

1              Place results in student folders

5              Administer and score age-appropriate assessments

2              Score assessments and place information in student folder

5              Assist student in creating post-secondary goals

2              Document student goals and place data in student folders

3              Select a high school course of study related to each student’s goals

10            Create reports on each student and place in student folders

10            Track each student’s progress while in school and make adjustments to post-secondary goals

10            Create a summary of performance and add to the student’s IEP

Total:     70 hours

Average teacher salary with benefits – $40.00/hour

TOTAL COST: 70 hours x $40/hour = $2,800.00 for 20 students who can read. For a class of non-reading students the cost would double!

With MECA, What You See is What You Get

The cost for our MECA Interest Indicator Assessment and Career Planner is a flat rate of $1,525.00. This price includes our management system, which allows for electronic administration, scoring, benchmarking and reporting on each student in the system.

Other Features:

  • Unlimited number of students
  • Full audio feature for non-readers
  • Many assistive technology features for multiple handicapped, deaf, visually impaired and others

Our MECA Interest Indicator requires a larger investment up front, but the $1,275.00 in annual savings per classroom to your school district  will more than make up for it. At a time when school districts are forced to cut costs due to tightened budgets, it’s important to be careful about where you cut corners in an effort to save money. Be cautious of “Free” software programs and be sure to look for the hidden costs.

By | 2017-04-30T16:18:30-04:00 May 21st, 2012|Education|Comments Off on “Free” Is Not Exactly Free

About the Author:

Terry Schmitz is the founder and owner of The Conover Company. Terry has been involved in the development of assessments for both education and corporations for over 30 years. He has developed hundreds of job-specific assessment systems that link to skill building systems.